Wednesday, November 18, 2009

7 Days

"My dad's in trouble". Hearing those words, I jumped from my chair and ran into the room where Jo was talking. "They are taking him to the hospital". We said nothing further and prepared to leave the office. Then the phone rang again. Mike was gone.

A week has passed since those terrible calls. As I reflect on what has transpired in that time, I am overwhelmed by the grace and dignity exhibited by my wife and her mother. From the first, there was an acceptance and an understanding. Mike had long suffered, and was more than ready to let go. Jo and Harryette did not choose to see this as something other than what it really was.

It is hard for some not to find fault in this type of a response to the death of someone so dear. They would say that you have to be mourning, you have to be hurting, you have to be inconsolable in your private moments. But, it is, to my mind, a show of great strength to be able to be true to your own feelings.

There was no real sadness attached to the events of the past 7 days. Certainly there were moments, but these were few and isolated. In fact, there was much more laughter than tears. There was a bonding with our family and that of Jo's brother Steve, as we told of events old and new, some stranger than others, all meant to bring a smile. Mike would have loved to see all of us sitting around the dinner table enjoying each other's company. Some stories sounded more like fiction than fact. That made them all the more interesting.

We are all settling back into our routine again. Enough time has passed that it is socially acceptable to be ready to participate in the events of the world. But Mike would not have wanted us to do anything but go right back to living. He wouldn't have found it necessary, or even appropriate, for us to have mourned. He had wrung everything he could out of his days. Harryette understood that and did great honor to Mike in her response to his death.

I have always found my mother in law to be full of class. After watching her the past week, she has only been elevated in my estimation. I thank her for making those horrifying minutes after we received the call, slightly more bearable. As a family, she, Jo and Steve, made the last week one that I will long recall, not in sadness, but with a certain warmth and fondness I could never have anticipated.


Unknown said...

Uncle Robert, I can't even begin to tell you how strongly I concur with these sentiments. I have shared these thoughts all week. While Grandpa's death was particularly hard on me, it being my first loss, I feel that I can look back on last week as an overall positive experience, as strange as that sounds. I have gained strength from observing Grandma, Joanne, and my father dealing with this. I really feel like last week brought the family closer together and that it was a celebration of his life rather than a mourning of his death (as my dad said in his eulogy). Thank you for this post, and thank you to everyone for all the love and support we have received in the last 7 days.

PS- When you speak of stories that sound more like fiction than fact, I assume you are talking about the rumors of my upcoming lesbian wedding? :) Or that might be for another post...

Robert said...

Yes, the 'lesbian wedding' story was among the most entertaining to come out of the events of the last week. I know that you are a brilliant young woman, and since the tale is so personal to you, perhaps you will give us your perspective on it, in a guest post (joining your fiancee among those who have shared their views on tooearlytocall.com).

Robert said...

Well done –By all of you


Anonymous said...

PUHLEEZE- isn't it about time someone explained that "lesbian wedding " comment?

Unknown said...

Beautifully said, Robert and Amy.
Mike was a man of great inner strength; as is his family. May he rest in peace.

As for the "lesbian wedding"...who would make such an assumption ("not that there's anything wrong with it...")and then discuss it at a funeral?